Biggest Loser contestants claim they were given drugs to lose more weight on show
Published 23/05/2016 | 13:34
It seems that another reality show may not be all that it seems.
Contestants from hit US weight-loss show The Biggest Loser are claiming that they were encouraged to take drugs in order to lose more weight on the show.
Following a study into why some contestants regain massive amounts of weight after appearing on the show, several ex-contestants alleged that they were given drugs to enhance weight loss.
Joelle Gwynn, from the 2008 Couples season, told The New York Post that her trainer gave her “yellow jackets” – pills banned by the FDA which contain weight-loss inducing and energy boosting ephedra – and was told to lie about how much she was eating and losing.
“Bob Harper was my trainer. He goes away and his assistant comes in. He’s got this brown paper bag that’s bundled up. He says ‘Take this drug, it’ll really help you.’ It was yellow and black. I was like, ‘What the f**k is this?’” Gwynn said.
After taking the pill, she said she felt jittery and hyper, and the experience made her feel “like we got raped”.
“I went and told the sports medicine guy. The next day, Dr H [the show’s doctor] gave us some lame explanation of why they got added to our regimen and that it was up to us to take them.
"People chastise Bill Cosby for allegedly offering meds to women, but it’s acceptable to do to fat people to make them lose weight. I feel like we got raped, too."
She also said she was encouraged to say that she was consuming nearly double the calories than she actually was.
Also, season 2’s Suzanne Mendonca said that contestants would often take pills and vomit in order to lose weight.
“People would take amphetamines, water pills, diuretics, and throw up in the bathroom. They would take their spin bikes into the steam room to work up a sweat. I vomited every single day. Bob Harper tells people to throw up: ‘Good,’ he says. ‘You’ll lose more calories,’” Mendonca told The Post.
Mendoca added, “The Biggest Loser doesn’t save lives, it ruins lives. Mentally, emotionally, financially – you come back a different person."
Dr H denied the claims in an e-mail to The Post, saying: “Nothing could be further from the truth. Contestants are told at the start of the show that there is zero tolerance for any weight-loss drugs."
“Furthermore, I educate contestants that proper caloric intake is essential to fat loss both over the short and long term,” he said.
Producers of the NBC show also denied the claims, stating: “The safety and well-being of our contestants is, and always has been, paramount.”
“We prohibit the use of any illegal substances, in addition to the many other rules and procedures of the show that are designed to ensure safety.”
The Biggest Loser season 17 finished in February this year. NBC is yet to announce season 18.